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St Bernadette of Lourdes

Bernadette Soubirous was born on 7 January 1844, at the Boly Mill, in Lourdes, a fertile and mountainous region in southern France.

She was to become one of the most famous seers of Our Lady, and Lourdes itself was to become known worldwide, both for the numerous apparitions of Our Lady and for the many miraculous cures there from the Lourdes water.

At age 11, Bernadette contracted Asthma, and this was later complicated by Tuberculosis, the combination of which conditions led to her death at the young age of 35.

Our Lady appeared to Bernadette 18 times in all, between 11 February 1858 and 16 July 1858, at the Grotto of Massabielle.

On the ninth apparition, on February 25, Our Lady told Bernadette to drink from the spring. Since she could not see a spring, she started to go to the river, but the vision called her back, and pointed to a particular spot in the grotto. Bernadette got down on her hands and knees, and found a patch of damp soil, but could not drink from it. She dug into it with her hands, and water began to flow, so that she could drink some. That spring has flowed ever since, and pilgrims there fill their own containers with water from the spring. Many thousands of miraculous cures have been attributed to the water - that is to the saving and loving action of Our Lady and her Divine Son, through the sign of the water. The water has been scientifically analysed and found to contain nothing which could possibly contribute to miraculous cures.

Bernadette was canonised (declared a Saint) on 8th December (Feastday of the Immaculate Conception) in 1933 by Pope Pius XI.

Her body was exhumed in 1926, almost 50 years after her death, and found to be incorrupt.

Her body is now enclosed in a Brass and Crystal coffin, and on view, in the chapel at the Convent of Nevers, France.

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